YAOUNDE, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Striker Sofiane Boufal's goal was enough to help Morocco defeat Ghana in the first Group C match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Monday evening.
Both heavyweights struggled to create chances in the opening clash, frequently making some good passes before hitting the ball out of play.
The game looked set to end in a goalless draw, but a mix-up in Ghana's defense in the 83rd minute allowed the ball to fall to Boufal, who smashed home from close range.
"The most important thing is that we have achieved our goal. This result motivates us and gives us the confidence to face the next game. We will continue to work and stay focused on our objectives," Boufal said afterwards.
Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac said that "it was a difficult game for us. After all, two great teams of African football were on the pitch. Morocco scored from the first opportunity they had. We still have two games to go and we will stay focused on them."
In Group C's other game, a first-half goal by Aaron Salem Boupendza helped Gabon defeat AFCON debutants Comoros.
Friday sees Morocco face Comoros, while Gabon take on Ghana.
Earlier on Monday, Senegal's Sadio Mane scored a 97th-minute penalty to secure a 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe in Group B. Elsewhere in the group, left wing-back Issiaga Sylla earned Guinea a 1-0 victory over Malawi.
Group B's next round of matches sees Senegal lock horns with Guinea, while Zimbabwe face Malawi.